Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River. (Josh. 1:2)
“Moses my servant is dead,” Joshua heard. The dawn of his leadership left Joshua with a crushing mantle of responsibility, a weary group of wanderers, and an unaccomplished mission (inhabiting the promised land) that had defined his community for years.
As if his inevitable comparison to Moses wasn’t enough, God’s first marching order to Joshua was to cross the flooded Jordan River (reminiscent of Moses’ leading the Israelites through the Red Sea). The people were grumbly, the river was not crossable, Joshua was a fledgling leader, and the most important person in their community had just passed away. God was commanding them to be unreasonably obedient.
God still asks people to do seemingly unreasonable things for his sake: change jobs, minister in prisons, love people in dangerous parts of the world, advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves, repudiate leaders who dehumanize your neighbors, “sell all you have and give to the poor.” None of it is easy.
Joshua must have taken heart at hearing God’s next words. “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you.” We can always find a reason to say “no” to God’s call to serve; and even if we say “yes,” God’s blessing may not lead to success. But what God promised Joshua may be good news for us yet. As he has been with those before you, he will also be with you.
Stop, look, and listen to your life. Where is God moving you?
Ethan Linder is the college, young adult, and connections pastor at College Wesleyan Church in Marion, Indiana, where he resides with his wife and son. Ethan enjoys running, reading, and roasting coffee.
© 2020 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.
Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.